Ashamed of My Failings   2 comments

I hit a deer yesterday morning as I drove home from work at 2:30 a.m.  I often see deer the last half mile, sometimes just twin dots as their eyes reflect my highbeams while their bodies blend into the terrain.  They are skittish, at times plunging into the road from the safety of the field, so I watch for them.  But this one leaped out of the dark when I was going 50 mph, landing a few feet from my bumper.  I’d have been heartsick to injure it, but it was killed instantly, so instead the slime of shame started gumming up my soul over the cost of fixing the car.  Kimberly has often warned me to be careful, but I’d seen no deer in two weeks so my mind had drifted to other things.  Would I have seen it, could I have avoided it, if I’d been alert?

In driving safety, Berly’s got me beat.  She is more careful and aware in life, while I am more fearless and ruminative or if you prefer more reckless and scatter-brained.  All personality traits have their benefits and detriments, and Berly’s make her better behind the wheel.  They also make her more stressed and tired behind the wheel, so ironically I, the dangerous one, do most of the driving.  There usually is a trade-off somewhere in the plus and minus categories of our personal characteristics.  We often suppose there is some golden mean to seek–a perfect balance of caution and risk, of intensity and tranquility, of talking and listening–shave off the bumps to fill in the holes and end up with the perfect personality.  Except those convexes and concaves are what make us each unique individuals with unique contributions.  Our patterns of light and shadow shape our beauty, and our mix of strengths and weaknesses bond us in relationship.

Of course, I want to shore up my weaknesses as best I can; I want to become safer in traffic.  But I must measure that against my own abilities and gifts, not my wife’s.  She will always be better on the road, and that is okay… that has to be okay.  Her safe driving must not be the basis for critiquing and shaming my erratic driving.  In the first few years of our marriage, I was a strong defensive driver… meaning I was strongly defensive about my driving, a toxic mix of pride and shame towards any complaint.  But I have slowly owned my faults and am now grateful for her backseat driving.  She used to silently stomp invisible brakes on her passenger floor, but now she cries out, “That’s a stop sign!” or “That car is turning!”  Team driving like team living brings out the best from both of us, but it requires mutual trust and respect built from honest interaction about our vulnerabilities and caches of shame.



Posted April 30, 2014 by janathangrace in Personal

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2 responses to “Ashamed of My Failings

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  1. I’m pretty sure Kimberly has warned you to be careful because she is concerned over your safety. I’m thankful you are okay also!

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